Is Customer Service in Real Estate Suffering Because of Innovation?

From fintech in the finance world to proptech in the real estate industry, businesses are become increasingly tech-led. As the products and services we use become digitised, so customers expect greater convenience in their lives. But therein lies the danger. Experts at When You Move explain for Lawyer Monthly why customer service may be faltering in the shadow of innovation throughout the real estate sector.

Business leaders are at risk of focusing on the tech and losing sight of the single most important aspect of their businesses: customer service. By maintaining consumer sentiment as the primary driver of business policy and strategy, firms can proactively avoid dehumanising their processes and secure their longevity.

The danger of dehumanisation is seen most acutely in the real estate industry. Following the swift rise of e-platforms and online agents, sourcing an agent and a conveyancer has never been easier for consumers. While this may seem like an advantage, the reality is a very real danger of over-saturation across the market. With many websites now listing up to 100 conveyancing solicitors on every page, and page listings stretching well into double digits, many have been forced to dramatically cut their prices so they can achieve a rank higher up the list.

This has led to an unintended decrease in the level of customer service provided to consumers because solicitors are forced to take on more and more clients to cover their costs. With the legal aspects of their job justifiably taking precedence, the time solicitors have to interact with their clients has dramatically decreased resulting in dissatisfaction for both the solicitor and client.

This problem may have stemmed within the rise in tech, but the solution is tech-based as well. With a clear mission to revolutionise the process of buying and selling for agents, brokers and consumers, When You Move is the perfect example of disruptive tech creating a more, not less, humanised experience for consumers.

Research has found that quality of communication is one of the most important attributes in a conveyancing partner, with delays and unhappy customers directly and negatively impacting agents’ and brokers’ bottom lines. By recognising agents and brokers were not responsible for keeping home buyers and sellers updated, and that conveyancers simply lacked the time to complete both the legal aspects and the consumer-facing tasks efficiently, When You Move entered the space specifically to humanise the processes.

Today, When You Move’s trade and consumer dashboards enable agents and brokers, as well as house buyers and sellers, to keep up-to-date on how the sale or purchase is progressing. All conveyancers are vetted and can be compared by rating, location, price and availability. Having selected their solicitor, clients can upload their documents, sign digitally, receive live notifications and track the progress of their property purchase in real time, from offer through to completion. This sophisticated tech proposition halves the time solicitors spend chasing referrals and case tracking, freeing them up to invest more time in their clients and deliver the quality of customer service they would like to give, and their clients want.

This balance of tech efficiencies versus customer service is not unique to real estate however – the rise of fintech mirrors that of proptech and presents a similar set of challenges to industry leaders and consumers. Just as online agents and e-platforms have unintentionally caused a decrease in the level of human contact in the property arena, so too have online banks and robo-investment advisers across the finance arena. The most important step, as with When You Move, is to recognise that rather than considering what technology could and should do, is to consider instead what humans need and want.

The advance of tech heralds an opportunity to revolutionise and transform industries that have, until well into the 21st century, relied almost wholly on paper and pen. When harnessed in the right way, technology has the power to deliver convenience to customers whilst providing efficiencies to businesses, affording them the time to nurture client relationships. A tech-led, human-centric strategy is one that sets businesses up for longevity and allows them to stand tall amongst their competition.

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